[5] [22] It communicates using scent and scratch marks on objects in its range and by urine spraying. Conservation. That said, dangerous sandbox sand and silica-free sand are not the only options for your child’s sandbox. Sand cats are currently extremely rare in the exotic pet trade. They are fearless snake hunters—their prey can include venomous vipers and other snakes. It is up to you to decide if beach sand or desert sand is too dangerous for your cat : Personally I doubt it would be a problem . [21] They grow relatively rapidly, reaching three quarters of the adult size within five months. This is because of increased human activity in areas where the sand lives together with their domestic animals and animals which are found near humans (e.g. In Saudi Arabia's Mahazat as-Sayd Protected Area, sand cats were captured and encountered trapped in wire mesh fence surrounding the adjacent Saja/Umm Ar-Rimth Protected Area in the country's Najd region. As with every animal, there are also different factors that will determine how the cat will be as a pet. [64], Sand cats have also been caught for the pet trade in the United Arab Emirates and in Iraq. The sand cat's outer ear is similar to that of a domestic cat, but its ear canal is about twice the size. Sand cats may remind you of adorable domestic kittens, but don't be deceived — they are fierce predators. No confirmed records are known in Mauritania, Tunisia and Libya. [56][48] [23] margarita. [60] Previously having been classified as near threatened, it has been downlisted to least concern in 2016, as the estimated size of the global population exceeds the threshold for a threatened category; the extent of decline of the global population is unknown. Sand cats are a relatively little known species of feline that are attracting attention due to their small size and similar appearance to 'regular' cats, although they also have enough distinctive features to make them uniquely beautiful. Sand cats eat primarily small rodents, occasionally hares, birds, spiders, insects and reptiles. [54] The ears are tawny at the base and tipped with black, and more pointed than those of the Pallas's cat (Otocolobus manul). No. Sand cats will fall under the umbrella term as a 'wild cat', and most laws ban these animals because of the lethality of 'big cats', despite the presence of smaller species that are not more dangerous than domestic cats. Their populations may be threatened by habitat fragmentation. The sand cat usually rests in underground dens during the day and hunts at night. To find out what really works will require research and observation. I did find a report published in 1996 in a veterinary journal about a cat that was brought to the vet with lethargy and muscle weakness on two occasions after ingesting litter containing bentonite. That said, dangerous sandbox sand and silica-free sand are not the only options for your child’s sandbox. It has a bite force quotient at the canine tip of 136.7. [16] This process was likely facilitated by extended periods of low sea levels between continents. In the Ténéré Desert, sand cats were observed in the 1980s and between 2008 and 2015. [28][29][30] [53] Some natural dangers of the sand cats are droughts, domestic dogs or cats, loss of natural vegetation, and disease. [26], The sand cat inhabits both sandy and stony deserts. Do not get a new cat while you are pregnant. foxes). Keep outdoor sandboxes covered. [25] DANGEROUS LIVING. In Algeria, one individual was recorded near a salt cedar mound in the Ahaggar Mountains in 2008. Cats, Babies and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It stands 24–36 cm (9.4–14.2 in) at the shoulder and weighs 1.5–3.4 kg (3.3–7.5 lb). [16][18] The improper enclosure or lack of enrichment could lead the animal to perform stereotypic behaviors. [27], In Israel, remains of Egyptian spiny-tailed lizards (Uromastyx aegyptia) were found near burrows used by sand cats. “It’s actually quite dangerous,” he’d tell me later. It was … It moves 5.4 km (3.4 mi) on average at night in search of small rodents and birds. In some areas, sand cats give birth to two litters per year. The common tan or beige color is typically caused by a few percent of iron oxides. [32] This owner suggested that the cat's behavior was 'reptilian'. Until December 2009, the global captive population comprised 200 individuals in 45 institutions, including 23 European zoos with 102 individuals. [48] [16][17] Analysis of their mitochondrial DNA indicates a genetic divergence of the Felis species at around 6.52 to 1.03 million years ago. They retired below ground at dawn and stayed in the burrow during the day. The threats to the sand cat are: Degradation and loss of habitat (this is typical for most wild cat species). It is listed as Near Threatened and their numbers have decreased chiefly due to habitat degradation. It's common for exotic pet species to have variation in their behavior and you often won't know what you're getting. This feature makes the cat's tracks obscure and difficult to identify and follow. Principal Threats: Habitat degradation is the major threat to the sand cat. In spring, the female gives birth to two to three kittens, which become sexually mature around the age of one year. The 5–7 cm (2.0–2.8 in) long ears are set low, giving a broad, flat appearance to the head. To date, it has been recorded in several disjunct locations in Morocco, Algeria, Niger, Chad and Egypt. This is the main cause of death in adults. [61], Habitat degradation and loss of sand dunes due to human activities are considered major threats to sand cat populations in the Western Asia, where uncontrolled hunting and persecution of predators using poisoned baits are common practices. The magnitude of acoustic input-admittance is about five times higher than of a domestic cat. Sand cat threats from humans are habitat degradation, human settlement in sand cats' habitats, crops planted by humans, and they may be killed in traps made for foxes and jackals. "Emergency Sand Cat Bath!" The winter coat that the sand cats have, especially those which live in the northern areas, is very long to the extent that it can reach up to 5.1 cm (2 in) long to protect the sand cat from the extremely cold weather. The long hair covering the soles of its feet insulates its foot pads against the extremely hot and cold temperatures in deserts. They are very sensitive animals, and do not do well in facilities not equipped for their needs. Raccoons can spread parasitic roundworms. They described its temperament as "charming" and having the personality of a "shy and very excitable domestic cat". A faint reddish line runs from the outer corner of each eye across the cheeks. Some individuals have imported sand cats from other countries as well in the past. [56] They were observed preying on jirds (Meriones), Cairo spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus), desert lark (Ammomanes deserti), and small reptiles. [39] It makes loud, high-pitched and short rasping sounds, especially when seeking a mate. Due to its wide distribution, it is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. The litter ingredient blamed for this alleged effect is the clumping agent, sodium bentonite, used in most major brands of clumping clay cat litter. The sand cat’s weight ranges from 1.35-3.2 kg (3.0-7.1 lb). [52], The sand cat is a solitary cat except during the mating season and when a female has kittens. [27] [44] In Syria, sand cats were sighted and photographed by a camera-trap in a protected area near Palmyra in 2000 and 2001. [4][5] The species was named after the French General Jean Auguste Margueritte. [6] [45] [14] [70], "Description d'une nouvelle espèce de Chat", "Données nouvelles sur le Chat des sables, "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group", "The Late Miocene radiation of modern Felidae: A genetic assessment", "Phylogeny and evolution of cats (Felidae)", "Phylogenomic evidence for ancient hybridization in the genomes of living cats (Felidae)", 10.1890/0012-9658(2007)88[347:bfaeat]2.0.co;2, "Notes sur quelques mammifères terrestres observés près de Dakhla, Oued Ad-Deheb", "First sand cat kittens sighted in the Moroccan Sahara", "Carnivores of the Tabuk Province, Saudi Arabia (Carnivora: Canidae, Felidae, Hyaenidae, Mustelidae)", "A survey of mammal diversity in the Turaif province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", "Additional records of the Arabian Sand Cat, "Sand cat in Iran – present status, distribution and conservation challenges", "Investigating abundance, density and potential threats of Sand Cat in the South-Eastern parts of Iran", "A comparative analysis of scent marking, social and reproductive behavior in 20 species of small cats (, "Unusual resting places of sand cat in Moroccan Sahara? [3] This holotype specimen appears to have been lost. The sand cat is one the world’s smallest feline species weighing from four to eight pounds and measuring, on average, 20 inches long. Top 10 Most Dangerous House Cats to Own. [49] In central Iran, sand cats were observed foremost in sand dunes and sabulous areas during surveys in 2014–2016. [65], Since the mid 1960s, sand cats were captured in Pakistan for trade and export to Europe, until the Pakistani government rejected issuing permits in 1974. In the late 1960s, sand cats were encountered in the Chagai Hills, an extremely arid area comprising rolling sand dunes and stony plains at an elevation of about 1,200 m (3,900 ft). The most common disease is infectious rhinotracheitis. So, now that you know that there are many cats in your neighborhood and you have decided to get one as a pet, now you are wondering how dangerous they are. Several captive-born individuals from the zoo's population were kept in an acclimatization enclosure, but did not survive subsequent release into the wild. Several cases of sand cats having been killed by domestic dogs (C. familiaris) were reported in Israel and Iran. Markings. [35], On the Arabian Peninsula, a sand cat skin was discovered by Wilfred Thesiger in 1948 in an oasis of the Rub' al Khali desert. “The common sand paper feel of a cat’s tongue is actually many small barbs that face backward, which benefits a cat when grooming,” Luther says. Studies in domestic cats have shown many benefits to feeding them with interactive enrichment devices such as food-dispensing toys, including weight management and reduced boredom that helps ward off disease. Wash hands with soap and water after gardening or contact with soil or sand. With sand cats being very susceptible to respiratory infections, they have to be kept in very arid enclosures, where humidity and temperature do not fluctuate. There are dark brown to blackish bars on the limbs, and the tail has a black tip with two or three dark rings alternating with buff bands. In the 20th century, the following zoological specimens of sand cats were described: In 1974, F. m. margarita, F. m. thinobia and F. m. scheffeli were temporarily recognized as valid taxa. Felis margarita was the scientific name proposed by Victor Loche in 1858 who first described a sand cat specimen found in the area of "Négonça" in the northern Algerian Sahara. [53] Sand cats hail from the dry deserts of Africa and Asia and they can be prone to respiratory infections in most households. Locally, Sand Cats may be threatened by the pet trade. Its life expectancy under human care is 10-12 years. [60][22], The generation length of the sand cat is about 4 years and 9 months. [58], Oestrus in female sand cats lasts from five to six days, during which they frequently call and scent mark. They weigh 39 to 80 g (1.4 to 2.8 oz) at birth, and have spotted pale yellow or reddish fur. One sand cat owner unfortunately lost their kitten to what they described as a deformity resulting from inbreeding. Sand cats are somewhat challenging to maintain in captivity. The large, greenish-yellow eyes are ringed with white, and the nose is blackish. Sand Cats will also cover large kills with sand and return later to feed. Toubou nomads living northwest of Lake Chad consider Sand Cats frequent chicken thieves which readily enter their camp in the evenings. [16][17] Analysis of mitochondrial DNA of all Felidae species indicates a radiation at around 16.76 to 6.46 million years ago. As sand cats are very uncommon in the pet trade and even in zoos, it is not yet possible to accurately give an idea of their personality as pets. [5] The long hairs growing between its toes create a cushion of fur over the foot pads, helping to insulate them while moving over hot sand. They died primarily due to maternal neglect by first-time mothers. People who've owned sand cats feed them a raw 'natural' diet of meats and insects. These are not the only states where the cats are likely legal but anyone truly interested in getting an exotic cat should triple check the laws in their state, county, city, and any other regulating body. Tambako the Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0) Via Flickr. When a dog eats sand, it is usually consumed in small amounts. They are fully independent by the end of their first year and reach sexual maturity not long after. “When presented with a material like a string or other fabrics, these barbs can act like Velcro and practically force the cat to continue to ingest and swallow the item, rather than spit it out. [24], Its skull is arched in lateral outline with wide zygomatic arches. Many smaller exotic cats have shown tendencies to become stressed around people in zoological environments and this was correlated with reduced reproductive success. Sand cats, also known as “sand dune cats,” are desert dwelling felines native to Northern Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Avoid stray cats, especially kittens. It buries its feces and covers it with sand. [42][62][46][47] In Baghdad, two sand cats were presented to a local nursery in 2012 that had been sold as pets; they died a week later. F. m. margarita Loche, 1858 F. m. thinobia (Ognev, 1927). To remedy this, it could be a good idea to provide heating in a sealed enclosure to keep the conditions more dry. It didn't provide any more information than my daughter had found in general looking online already, but it's nice to have all in the one book. If they caught more than they could eat, they buried the remains for later consumption. [40] Felis margarita is listed on CITES Appendix II. [59], The captive population kept in the European Endangered Species Programme is offspring of 18 founders that originated almost exclusively on the Arabian Peninsula. Nocturnal, the cats spend their days in burrows that they dig or find in sand dunes. Sand cat kittens that had been hiding beneath a tuft of Panicum turgidum grass were sighted and photographed in the area in April 2017. The sand cat is a small cat, characterized by a flat, wide head, short legs, and a relatively long tail of 23–31 cm (9.1–12.2 in). [24] [30] [42] Facebook. [27], Of 228 sand cats born in zoos globally by 2007, only 61% of the kittens lived to day 30. Silicosis can be a problem where silica is ground under dry conditions producing airborne dust. Wear gloves when gardening and during contact with soil or sand because it might be contaminated with cat feces that contain Toxoplasma. [48] Between March 2014 and July 2016, sand cats were also observed at elevations of 900–1,100 m (3,000–3,600 ft) in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, foremost in black saxaul dominated habitat. In Uzbekistan, desert habitat is being degraded through the uprooting of shrubs for use as a substrate for silk worm cocoons and for firewood, which lead to an increase of drifting sand. It is up to you to decide if beach sand or desert sand is too dangerous for your cat : Personally I doubt it would be a problem. [22] The cat's whiskers are white and up to 8 cm (3.1 in) long. Sand cats have a broad head with large eyes and low-set ears. [68], In 2010, two sand cat kittens were born at the Al Ain Zoo after the first procedure of in vitro fertilisation and transfer of frozen-thawed embryos into the oviducts of ovulating females. Sand Cat. Various species prey on sand cats, including venomous snakes as well as birds of prey and wolves. The head-and-body length ranges from 39–52 cm (15–20 in). [57], Sand cats were collected in eastern Karakum Desert in the late 1950s. Fencing of protected areas threatens the sand cat in Saudi Arabia, where several individuals were found stuck in fences. They satisfied their moisture requirements from their prey but drank readily if water was available. 7. [52][58], In the Sahara, sand cats have been killed in traps laid out by inhabitants of oases targeting foxes and golden jackals (Canis aureus) or in retaliation for killing poultry. Its 5–7 cm (2.0–2.8 in) long ears are set low on the sides of the head, aiding detection of prey moving underground. At the time, it was considered possible that sand cats eventually recorded in Afghanistan and Iran might constitute distinct subspecies. Due to the fact that sand cats are hard to find, expensive, and the places from which they are sourced are little-known, sand cats should require intermediate to advanced care standards. Sand Cats will also cover large kills with sand and return later to feed. He was looking for a sand cat. Because sand cats are threatened, animals taken illegally for the pet trade can seriously damage wild populations. [56] Since 2002, it is considered locally extinct in the country, as it has not been recorded since the turn of the century. Sand Cats may not look the part, but they are built to handle the extremes of one of the harshest environments on Earth. Sand cat threats from humans are habitat degradation, human settlement in sand cats' habitats, crops planted by humans, and they may be killed in traps made for foxes and jackals. In Iran, it occurs in arid flat plains and sandy desert of Abbas'abad Wildlife Reserve, Kavir National Park and Petergan Rural District. [55], In the Ténéré Desert, sand cats were observed preying foremost on small rodents, young of cape hare (Lepus capensis), but also hunting greater hoopoe lark (Alaemon alaudipes), desert monitor (Varanus griseus), sandfish (Scincus scincus), and venomous vipers. [18] In Morocco, a male sand cat travelled 14.1 km (8.8 mi) in 30 hours. While these cute cats look quite similar to your average housecat, be warned they are 100% wild animals. Silicosis can be a problem where silica is ground under dry conditions producing airborne dust. "They can take on and eat poisonous snakes, like the horned sand viper. These are not 'regular' cats that will become perfectly tame with consistent handling (even feral domestic cats can be irreversible in this way). Its head-and-body length ranges from 39–52 cm (15–20 in) with a 23–31 cm (9.1–12.2 in) long tail. Living in a relatively desolate habitat, sand cats are opportunistic feeders out of necessity. [27] The captive population within the Species Survival Plan for sand cat is based on eight founders. Sand cats also have been known to drink little or no water, getting moisture from their food. [46][47] Most "sand" is primarily silica sand. 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